Wednesday, May 11, 2016

RECIPE // Brown Butter Banana Cream Tart

If you're reading this, I hope your experiencing better weather than we are here in New Jersey. April showers have spilled into May, and I think I've seen the sun shining once in the last two weeks. Normally Robbie and I would be spending all of our time off outdoors, but jumping in rain puddles in my Hunter boots is only so fun for so long. The bright side to this overcast tale is that it inspired us to visit the Amish market in Williamstown. During this trip it came out that Robbie dreams of being Amish, and tried to figure out how he could join their community. While he fantasized about barn raisings and quilting, I wandered around the bakery and bookstore.

When I find myself surrounded by old cookbooks, I have to rely on Robbie to exercise self control for me. If I didn't, I would need a second bedroom just to store all of the ones I would buy. This time, though, Robbie was just as excited. Stuck between two books from the 1970s on dieting was an old Pepperidge Farm cookbook. A few of the recipes were advertisements for their products, but most were completely from scratch. So many old cookbooks are almost useless because the techniques are so dated, but a lot of what I have planned next for the blog was inspired by this cookbook.

I combined and altered a few recipes from the book to make a banana cream tart. As a kid I loved this dessert, I got one every year on my birthday in place of a cake. I almost bought one at the bakery in the Amish market, but I already had two apple dumplings and a loaf of bread in my hands. I decided to use my new cookbook to satiate this childhood craving. I decided to roast the bananas and use browned butter in the custard to give the whole dish a more nutty, caramel flavor. I added spiced rum to the whipped cream, because this dish isn't for 10 year old Patrick. Instead of using store bought graham crackers, I baked my own. It was saddening to bake them just to crumble them up, but they made a nice treat while the crust baked and the custard set.

Brown Butter Banana Cream Tart:

For the crust:
1 1/2 c finely crumbled graham crackers
3 tbsp maple syrup
6 tbsp melted grass-fed butter
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
3 bananas sliced in half, widthwise, and again, lengthwise

For the custard:
2 cups of milk
1 tbsp of grass-fed gelatin (We used Great Lakes)
3 tbsp of grass-fed butter
1/4 c maple syrup, divided
4 egg yolks

For the whipped cream:
1 1/2 c heavy cream
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp spiced rum

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the graham crackers, maple syrup, butter and cinnamon for the crust in a medium sized bowl. Work the ingredients with your hands until the crust comes together. Press the crust into a 9" tart pan until the entire pan is lined with a thin layer of crust. Using the bottom of a drinking glass to press will get an even thickness. Line the bottom of the crust with sliced banana. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely in the tart pan.

While the crust bakes, begin the custard. Whisk the gelatin and 2 tbsp of maple syrup into the milk, and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom. Add the mixture to a double boiler. Heat this mixture over medium heat.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook for an additional 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. The milk solids in the butter should go from white to brown, and the butter will take on a nutty aroma. When the butter has browned, add it to the milk in the double boiler. Bring the milk to a boil.

While the milk comes to a boil, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining 2 tbsp of maple syrup in a stand mixer. When the milk has reached a boil, turn the heat off and begin slowly adding it to the egg yolks a ladleful at a time, whisking on medium-high the entire time.

Once all of the milk has been incorperated, move the custard back into the double boiler. Cook over medium, while whisking constantly. Once the custard has thickened, but not boiled, remove it from the heat. Allow it to cool to room temperature.

Spoon the custard into the cooled crust and move it to the refrigerator to set, about two hours. Near the end of the two hours make the whipped cream topping. Whisk the heavy cream, maple syrup and rum in a stand mixer on medium speed until you have a firm whipped cream.

Remove the tart from the refrigerator once the custard is completely set. Using an offset spatula, carefully spread small scoops of whipped cream over the top of the tart. When you have a smooth, even layer of whipped cream, sprinkle the top with cinnamon.